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ACA's Polka to Testify on Broadband Infrastructure

In the wake of a tsunami of broadband infrastructure-related bills coming out of both the House, the Communications Subcommittee has scheduled a Jan. 30 hearing on "Closing the Digital Divide: Broadband Infrastructure Solutions.

Representing cable broadband providers will be Matt Polka, president of the American Cable Association, whose members are the smaller and midsized operators on the front lines of deploying plant in rural areas.

The subcommittee lists almost two dozen bills and resolutions that will (or at least could) be the subject of the hearing, including two added Friday (Jan. 26), the Connecting Broadband Deserts Act (H.R. 4287), and the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which was also introduced in the House.

The bill referring to broadband "deserts" is from Democrats Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), is meant to target so-called digital red-lining by defining an urban area census block where less than a third of the residents have access to advanced telecommunications as a "desert" that the FCC must take immediate action to fix by removing barriers to infrastructure investment.

Also scheduled to testify are Brad Gillen of CTIA; Nancy White of North Central Telephone Cooperative, and Jonathan Spalter of USTelecom.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.